I have seen a letter on Belonger Stamps astutely authored by Mr. De-Owen Higgs, an experienced Immigration expert. He takes issue with the absence of a “law authorizing immigration Officers to grant Immigration status”.
It should be pointed out that the process of issuing a stamp of Belongership is not the same as “granting”. Immigration Officials who issue Belonger stamps are well within the law and are merely giving recognition to Belongerships already existing by operation of law.
This must mean that if one is born outside of the islands to a Belonger and or is able to show descent to Belongers, that person is already a Belonger under section 3 of the Ordinance by “operation of law” and not by way of “grant”
Hence Belonger stamps are not illegal and are consonant with international human rights obligations of the Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands to ensure that persons attached to these islands by some means are not left stateless.
Mr Higgs then takes issue with the fact that the Bahamas Government ought to deal with the matter of having two (2,) Nationalities in the same passport. Again the matter of Nationality is at issue. Belongership, while a specie of the idea of “citizenship” is not nationality but under the British Nationality Acts, a qualification to become Naturalised and hence a “British National”.
The same applies to persons who become Permanent Residents of the TCI. In both instances the qualifier is being “exempt” from Immigration Control and such legal standing is obtained by being a Belonger and or a Permanent Resident. It would mean that Bahamian Nationals who obtained TCI Belongership are not TCI Nationals, British Nationals but could qualify after a period of residence to become Naturalised. They are therefore not in breach of any law and the process as ongoing is ok.
Mr Higgs points are interesting and worthy of commentary.
Please withhold my name